The FTSE 100 was up 1.1% at the open as Middle East tensions ease and ahead of data releases from the UK and the US later in the week. Investors are awaiting comments from the Bank of England's Chief Economist and US personal consumption expenditure price index data due on Friday. Life insurers led sector gains, while precious metal miners declined as gold prices fell after Iran downplayed escalation risks.

British song management company Hipgnosis Songs Fund indicated support for a potential takeover bid from Blackstone, following an earlier bid from Alchemy Copyrights. Blackstone's offer values Hipgnosis at USD 1.50 billion. Meanwhile, Tyman backed a GBP 788 million takeover offer from Quanex.

Unilever Faces Challenges Selling Ice Cream Business Unilever is struggling to find a buyer for its ice cream business, which includes brands like Magnum and Ben & Jerry's. The business's large size, with an estimated value of around £15 billion, makes it difficult to offload. Potential buyers, including state-backed funds and private equity firms, may need to form consortia to afford the price. Unilever might retain a minority stake to facilitate a sale. The company is also considering listing the business on the stock market, with the New York Stock Exchange expressing interest.

In other news, the People's Bank of China kept its one-year loan prime rate unchanged at 3.45%, and the five-year rate at 3.95%, in line with market expectations.

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